Tag Archives: research

I Left My Heart in Japan

Temple aglow at night at Asakusa

Can you imagine why?  Below, some views from along the winding and often surprising journey through this beautiful place…

This was my first gong spotted in a Japanese temple, but by no means my last. Temples abound! This one in Ueno Park in Tokyo.

Did I mention that there are lots of temples? This one in Kamakura overlooks the ocean.

Big Buddha.... (Kamakura)

.... little Buddhas! (Kamakura)

Kanji: Chinese characters imported into Japanese language, usually with different pronunciation and often with different character pairings or even some different strokes. Result: I can almost read.... sometimes. This is something something flavor room, I think....

Tokyo sunset...

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Finding Silai: A Search Through History

The view of Silai from Yanping Historic Street, a road that runs through the middle of town and showcases preserved and reconstructed traditional Taiwanese architecture.

In May, I went back to my grandfather Thomas Liao’s hometown of Silai, to meet people, conduct oral history interviews, and look for documents about Thomas’s life, family, and political career.

This was my second trip– the first was a somewhat ill-advised round trip scooter ride from Chiayi City that I did in one day and took 5+ hours. But this time, I had made contact with a very kind host, Stella Chen, who introduced me to everyone she knew in the greater Silai area (between Taichung and Chiayi), and everyone I met introduced me to everyone THEY knew, who might know something about the Liao family, or remember a funny anecdote, share a photo, or take me walking around a historical part of the town.

To say the least: it was intense.

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Silai Musical Interlude

To introduce a series of posts about visiting my grandfather’s hometown of Silai (in Mandarin Siluo, Xiluo, 西螺), here’s a sweet song and video slide show, made by the town’s historical society!! It’s called the Luoyang Culture and Education Foundation, or: 螺陽文教基金會.

So I hope you’ll give it a watch if you want to see how the town looks now– in Silai itself, there are some beautiful historically preserved old buildings, collections of old photographs and books at the historical society, and a traditional soy sauce museum and factory. Continue reading

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Notes From Underground

Greetings from Tainan, city of 1000 temples! This one is Confucius Temple, photographed at dusk.

I’ve spent the last two weeks…

… traveling during my break from classes– going to Chiayi, Siluo, and Tainan, getting a wretched stomach flu, recovering, and diving into a week of using Chinese intensively in my research and new private 1-on-1 Chinese class.  With my tutor, I hope to eventually start READING the historical sources I’ve found which use Mandarin.  Last night, I gave a 20-minute talk to Zheng Da undergraduates about doing research in college: in Chinese. (Broken Chinese, but Chinese nonetheless.)

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Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Culture Shocked

 

“What causes culture shock?  It is basically an accumulation of stress caused by a lack of the familiar….  Culture shock can hit the young, the old, the experienced, the naive.  It might be a fleeting moment of melancholy, or a brief loneliness, but it can also be a profound and deep depression.” — Culture Shock!  Taiwan

So the honeymoon is over.  Over.  It’s been a fantastic introduction to Taiwan, but as I bid good bye to my heady first few weeks here, I realize with a shock that I am living in Taiwan, not visiting, vacationing, or galavanting.  So if I haven’t been in touch, don’t worry, I’m just culture shocked. Continue reading

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